Just 1 to 1.5 hours away from Melbourne, the regional city of Bendigo has become a surprisingly metropolitan capital of culture in the heart of Victoria.
Bendigo is only a short train ride away on the Vline from Melbourne with some headphones and music.
Known for it’s gold rush history, Bendigo is starting to shake off the perception that it offers mostly a historical attraction. It’s becoming more and more a vibrant hub for incredible food, bars, art galleries and natural treasures.
From rustic farms to fine dining, the food is incredible. From Chef’s Hat winning restaurants to beautiful and edible flowers, the cuisine is creative and varied. Book a tour where cooking tips from a pro come complimentary and discover the wonderful things you can do with fresh local ingredients. If you’re after a burger then Boris Murgers are going to blow your mind.
Exhibitions and installations come and go from the menagerie of art galleries and contemporary art spaces in Bendigo. Make sure to visit the Bendigo Art Gallery and Gallery Café or perhaps you’d like to stay at the only rural Art Series hotel in Australia, the Schaller Studio).
If you thought Melbourne was the capitol of Australia when it comes to markets, laneways and boutique shops, then Bendigo is surely a close second. Explore alleyways and splash some cash at the range of eclectic stores on View Street in exchange for some epic vintage and antique goodies. Trove Makers Market is a must-do with it’s collection of over 50 stalls, it runs on every 3rd Sunday of the month. Chancery Lane is a hidden laneway to fall in love with and the range of fantastic Café’s scattered nearby make for a perfect pairing.
In fact, Café Culture is alive and strong and in many ways rivals Melbourne’s status as the café capital. The Bendigo Corner Store Cafe is always popular with locals and Edwards Providore will have you coming back day after day for their delicious breakfast dishes.
The coffee is serious, and so is the beer. Bendigo has a thriving coffee and craft beer scene. On tap or bottled, the local beers are well worth spending a sunny afternoon wiling away the time. Make sure to check out Handle Bar (ha) on Mitchell Street. Sample sangria at the El Gordo bar at the end of Chancery Lane or discover cocktails at the appropriately named ‘The Dispensary’ bar.
Cheese and dessert tours are a fantastic way to hit up a few of the must-try restaurants in one day. But then again you may end up drinking anyway with all the Rum Balls and Ferrero Rocher espresso martini’s you’ll be sampling.